My birthday was June 30. A Sunday. So, I didn’t celebrate with everyone at Martell. Instead, Megan made me chocolate cupcakes, and everyone signed a card for me for July 1st. So sweet! Many say it shouldn’t have been a surprise at that point, but to be quite honest, I was not expecting it.
Time has flown by. Our second and last round of high schoolers came this week. They were far more eccentric than the last group. In their final PowerPoint they put pictures of Tom Holland onto every slide, based on their admiration and inspiration from the latest Spiderman movie.
The focus of this week was extension and outreach work. Monday, we developed our ideas and activities for the upcoming PALS and Riverfest events. Mae and I, recreated 'Capture the Flag' by simulating a natural habitat using pink and white flags. The kids use red or green bands of differing lengths to signify whether they were cryptic or conspicuous organisms in their natural setting. There are always only a few predators lacking bands. The object of the game is to leave the edge-represented by a boundary of pink flags- of the forest and take to shelter within the interior-represented by a circle of white flags- without getting your band-your life-taken from you. We also developed a game that involved more critical thinking rather than physical activity. We listed the material we would need and drew out our poster board.
Tuesday, we had a guest speaker explain to us and give us useful tips on how to organize and host an event. Afterwards, everyone continued to work on their projects before we all left to Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart for supplies. Mae, Nigel and I, had been making wax frog models for the children as prizes. They turned out beautiful.
The next day, Dr. Rod Williams, an expert herpetologist and extension specialist, came to give us a workshop. Everyone was tasked to write a description of their research project on a piece a paper, as if to explain to a stranger. We all ended up writing formal descriptions filled with scientific jargon. This is an approach... but not the best one to use when explaining scientific work to the general public. He taught us how to relate and convey our message to the public in a fun and understandable way. We gave “elevator” pitches. By the end of the workshop we had all been critiqued and polished for successful explanation-giving.
Thursday was fourth of July. We had brunch at Dr. Flaherty’s home and celebrated at Megan’s house in the evening. I took my dog Monti and June to socialize.
Week 5 is over! This program is more than halfway finished. Unbelievable. Next week we can expect another deployment as well as the start of our outreach events. Thanks for reading this far!